19 things I learned in 19 years

It has been about a month and a half since I turned 19, so I thought I would share a few lessons I have learned within these years. Hope you enjoy!

  1. Life Motto: Everything happens for a reason//Everyone is put in your path for a reason
    Whether it’s in or out of your control everything has a meaning/purpose and you will eventually realize that. It’s what has gotten you where you are today and where you need to be tomorrow. There is a reason why you’re in a specific place at a certain time. Whether it’s a stranger’s compliment that brightens your day or a significant other that you fall in love with, everyone you cross paths with within your life is there for some reason or another, usually even a lesson learned. To share a personal example, I will admit that I unfortunately was waitlisted at UW Madison/U of MN. It was an awful feeling at first. I felt like none of my hard work paid off. However, once I got past the devastation, I realized that for some reason the universe was telling me ‘not now’ instead of ‘not ever.’ I may not be in my happiest place in Milwaukee, but it has been a great experience & quite honestly I’m glad of the decision I made and wouldn’t change it.
  2. Loving yourself is a journey, the best and most important one you’ll take
    This definitely isn’t an easy task, but it’s important to start sooner rather than later. How are you supposed to show others how you want to be treated/respected/loved if you don’t treat/respect/love yourself in that same way? When you truly love who you are or love who you’re aiming to be life simply changes. It’s a life-long journey that for sure won’t happen overnight, but its worth the adventure. “It’s a journey not a destination.”
  3. You are responsible for your own emotions
    Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of hardships in my life, more than the typical teenager. However, I have realized that I may not be the cause of my emotions, but I am responsible to how I feel and react. Don’t choose not to feel, but realize that you are in complete control of your response to any situation. For a simple example, someone could insult you, make fun of you, or be rude, and you could react in two ways: 1. Choose to question yourself, feel bad about yourself, resent the person, play their game and be mean back, etc. or 2. You could move on with your life, realize your self worth (this is where self love comes into play), give them the benefit of the doubt (maybe they’re having a bad day). “People treat you how you let them.”
  4. You can’t change anyone, so don’t try to
    I’m guilty. I have definitely given people way too many chances or I have tried to change other’s perspectives as I am sure you have before as well. Every single time I have every tried to ‘change’ a ‘fault’ that someone has, I am the one who ends up getting hurt. People don’t change unless they truly think they should or want to. Don’t waste your time trying. However, don’t be surprised if someone does change whether it’s for the better or not. It’s apart of life. Friends grow apart, relationships end. Change isn’t always bad, but honestly, don’t try to change anyone. It’s not fair to them or you.
  5. Use your voice, it matters
    Speak your opinions and thoughts. If someone doesn’t listen, find someone who does. Life is too short to keep silent. For example, for the longest time I was way to nervous to even create this blog. But here I am…I lived through it. The benefits of speaking my mind, giving advice, and sharing my passions have outweighed the bad by far.
  6. You are ALWAYS enough, if not more
    Do not let anyone make you feel inferior in any way shape or form. You were put on this earth for a reason. You are and always will be enough. Period. I know it’s cliché, but you seriously are the only you on this earth. So why waste your time being someone you’re not?
  7. You will never be able to please everyone in your life, so don’t waste your time trying or caring too much
    You could be the nicest, most amazing person to walk this earth and there’s a good chance that not everyone will adore you. Pleasing everyone you encounter with is pretty much impossible, so don’t dwell when you don’t click with someone. Life is too short to dwell on anything for that matter. Now.. if many people are seeming to not click with you on a regular basis, then you may have a problem. Assuming that’s not the case, my advice to you is consider if there is a valid reason why this person doesn’t click with you. If there is one then change and move on. If not, move on anyway.
  8. A smile or a compliment could change someone’s day
    This is pretty straight forward. You never know if the person your sharing the elevator with just received terrible news. Any light could brighten their day even if it is just for a minute. Overall, being a kind person goes a long way.
  9. You are truly the only one that will be there for you
    Of course your family and true friends will always be there for support when you need it, but what I mean is that they’re not going to always be there when you need them or they may not even understand the problem. Also, remember that people change and so do you. Even if you think it’s impossible, your current go-to person may not be the same in a few years or even months. No matter what happens, realize that you will always be there. I mean you’re kinda stuck with yourself so get used to it.
  10. Life is too short to remain unhappy
    If you find yourself not feeling content, figure out why that is and adjust accordingly. It may seem complicated but it is quite simple. If you find yourself broke and unhappy-find a way to make more $ and save more $…not that money brings you happiness.  If you find yourself lonely and sad all of the time go out and find some people that bring you joy. If you find yourself not happy with what you eat, throw away the garbage and change what’s in your cupboards and fridge. I won’t give you another example because I’m sure you get the point by now. But seriously, there is pretty much always a solution. If you’re feeling down it can be easy to sit around and feel bad for yourself or sulk in misery. Do yourself a favor and don’t do this. Get up. Change for the better. But most importantly..change for your own happiness not for the sake of other’s.
  11. Loss sucks, but time heals
    I’ve had my fair share of loss in my life & unfortunately, I’m sure I’ll experience it again. I lost my stepdad, grandma, and aunt all with in a couple of years. That was about five years ago. Obviously, I still miss them dearly and think of them every single day, but time has healed my heart. You realize that they are in a better place and focus on the time that you did have with them. Even if it’s not a death and it’s a relationship that ended that is still a sense of loss. It’s different, but still hurts. Trust me you won’t feel this awful feeling of emptiness forever. Each person grieves differently and at their own pace. Time heals.
  12. Mental health is more important than your physical health
    Society has normalized discussing your physical health which has created a negative connotation when it comes to mental health. For some reason, this has led us to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable to talk about our mental state and thoughts- for some, it is even hard to talk to the ones closest to you. From experience, I have never been more happy when my mental health is at its best. Obviously, I don’t think that physical health is irrelevant. Since mental and physical health feed off of one another there are many things that you can do that benefit and increase both health factors such as eating clean & excising more- this is just killing two birds with one stone. In my opinion, it is nearly impossible to even feel good on the outside if you don’t feel good on the inside first.
  13. Don’t be surprised if they’re not the ‘one’
    Unfortunately, this time period does not call for many high school sweethearts. Unlike my grandparents, the first person you have a relationship with is probably not going to be your ‘forever’ and that’s just how it is. Clearly, it is beyond incredible for a couple to meet at a young age and keep the relationship going, but don’t be bent out of shape if the relationship ends. It’s probably for the better. If you put it into perspective then it becomes a little more clear. There is more than 7 billion people in this world. What are the chances that you meet ‘your person’ right away?
  14. Time alone is a good thing
    There is going to be two different responses to this….1) What is wrong with you? Are you antisocial? Don’t you know that you only live once? or 2) YAS! I love a good night spent in. I got you! No matter what thought came to your mind, please hear me out. Ever heard of FOMO (aka fear of missing out)? I promise you that 95% of the time you feel like you’re missing out on something crazy, you’re probably NOT. Let me paint you a picture: You’re not feeling the greatest or you’re content binge watching Netflix or whatever it may be. You get a text message from your besties begging you to come out with them. Deep down you’re not feeling it, but you say ‘yes’ anyway because you don’t wanna miss out on any of the action. You may have somewhat of a good time, but overall you can’t wait to be back at home doing whatever it was before you dragged yourself out. No matter if you’ve had a similar experience or not, I challenge you to do the following: Learn to say ‘No’ when you’re not 110% feeling like you want to say ‘Yes!’ It is okay to spend time by yourself. Learn to be content with your own company. It’s actually proven to be healthy and surprisingly an essential life task. Now I’m not denying that a spontaneous decision can’t turn into a memory or that you should turn into an extreme introvert who never leaves their house. My point is that you shouldn’t feel like you’re constantly missing out on something when you say ‘No.’ It’s okay to prioritize you! In fact, you should do it more often! Obviously live your life to it’s fullest with the people you care about but again, don’t count out staying in and living #gmalife once in awhile.
  15. There is probably a reason why someone is unkind
    Whether it’s a rude store worker, a pissed off driver or someone who constantly harasses you, there is most likely a reason why they feel the need to be insensitive/mean. Try to give the person the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they are sad because they lost a loved one, stressed about financial issues, in a fight with someone else or aren’t happy and insecure with themselves. Whatever it may be, just assume that there’s a reason behind their rude actions. Don’t take it personal.
  16. Effort, Communication, & Trust are the most important things when it comes to any relationship
    Pretty straight forward, yet easier said than done. This doesn’t have to be a relationship with your significant other. I’m talking about any relationship between family, friends, coworkers, etc.
  17. Don’t set expectations, don’t get your hopes up, and you won’t get disappointed
    Plain and simple.
  18. Pay attention to those who actually care
    Prioritize the people in your life. Relationships don’t grow on their own, but they will fade if you don’t make an effort. Not only should you tell people that you care about them, but most importantly you should show them. Also, don’t waste your time on people that don’t give you the same amount of effort in return.
  19. Sometimes you to need to shut up and take your own advice 
    I’ll admit…although the list you read above are things that I’ve learned these past 19 years, I sometimes forget to follow these lessons. I know so many people who can give the best advice, but then they don’t apply it to their own life (aka a hyprocrite). We’re all guilty. Try to use the advice you give to others, as simple as it may seem. It might change your life too!

Thanks for reading!

XX Lillie Jane

Pictures taken by Marcel Klemetson

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